Mosquito veteran Flt Lt Colin Bell celebrates 103rd birthday

Celebrating his 103rd birthday on Tuesday 5 March, Flt Lt Colin Bell shows no sign of slowing down as he looks back over an action-packed year

“It's been a busy year and unbelievable fun, with many highlights” comments the former World War Two Mosquito pilot. “Being introduced to King Charles as he visited RAF World War Two Veterans at the BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) was particularly special.

Also truly memorable was being invited by Randolph Churchill to address members of the Churchill family and their friends at Chartwell, on 30 November - being the anniversary of Sir Winston's birthday. In preparing for my address, it was a poignant opportunity for me to reflect once again on the strategically crucial and inspirational role Sir Winston played in leading the nation to victory and peace through some of the darkest times. What an honour to be able to pay tribute to such an eminent statesman, drawing on my recollections of those times. Hugely humbling.”

During the year, Colin took to the skies in a different way, undertaking a sponsored abseil, raising funds for three charities, London’s Air Ambulance, the RCN Foundation, and the RAF Benevolent Fund. In completing the abseil down 17 storeys of the Royal London Hospital, Colin set a new World Record - being the oldest person ever to abseil.

Colin Bell with Mark Vickers, having just completed a charity abseil
Colin Bell with Mark Vickers, having just completed a charity abseil Courtesy Mark Vickers

Thanks to the Airbus Heritage team, Colin was introduced face to face with an airworthy, replica Messerschmitt Me 262 at RAF Coningsby, the first time he had been re-acquainted with the shark-like, German jet fighter since his combat engagement with one over the skies of Berlin in 1944.

Colin continues to give numerous presentations to RAF, historical, educational and special interest groups to preserve the legacy of the role of Bomber Command, and to raise monies for the RAF Benevolent Fund and the Hospice in the Weald, where his lovely wife of 73 years, Kath, was so well looked after during her final weeks.

It is fitting to recall that 79 years ago on 3 March 1945, just short of his 24th birthday, Colin completed his tour of 50 combat missions over Germany, as part of the Pathfinders.

We all wish him a very happy 103rd birthday, and look forward to him continuing to have fun!! With thanks to Mark Vickers

Colin Bell (left) with Randolph Churchill at Chartwell
Colin Bell (left) with Randolph Churchill at Chartwell Courtesy Mark Vickers